Recently Avvo, Inc. unveiled a new service, Avvo Advisor. The service provides on-demand legal service for a fixed price of $39 for fifteen minutes. The potential client enters his zip code and then chooses the appropriate area of law. After the potential client enters his credit card information, Avvo notifies the attorney via text. If the attorney accepts, she has 15 minutes to call the potential client. After the call, the entire fee is deposited to the attorney’s account.
This firm does not express any opinion on this service. However, for any attorney looking to participate in such a service, either through Avvo or another, here are some thoughts on how to manage such a relationship under the Rules of Professional Responsibility.
- Before commencing any attorney-client relationship, you must perform a conflicts check.
- In order to give proper advice, you must have the material facts from the client. Although that may take more than the allotted time, it is essential in order to protect both the lawyer and the potential client.
- Be clear with the potential client as to the nature and scope of representation of your representation.
- Be clear with the potential client about the relationship between you and the referral service.
- Confirm your conversation with the potential client in writing whether it turns out to be a consultation with no further action or an ongoing representation. In any event, a fee agreement is required.
- If no representation results, consider a declination letter.
As always, if you have concerns about whether conduct is appropriate under the Rules, research those Rules and if needed, feel free to contact us.